Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quick Links About Jehovah's Witnesses

Do Jehovah's Witnesses use deceptive recruiting tactics? This news article addresses that question.

The charity status of Jehovah's Witnesses is being challenged in the UK. Apparently, they want charities to actually do charitable work and be a benefit to society. This could be a big problem for the Watchtower publishing organisation. Go here for a discussion.

My video blog has received a legal threat from a director of the "Knocking" documentary. I explain the circumstances here.

Religion and Child Abuse is a great blog for current information about this tragic problem. See this label link for articles about Jehovah's Witnesses.

To Verdener (Worlds Apart) is a new movie in Danish that portrays the disciplinary procedures of Jehovah's Witnesses and its impact on families.

Who was the first President of the Watchtower Society? Jehovah's Witnesses say it was Charles Taze Russel. This is incorrect. You may enjoy this article about their forgotten first president.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jehovah's Witnesses Lose a Legal Battle in the Murrieta Molestation Case

Jehovah's Witness elders have refused to testify in the Murrieta Molestation case, on the basis of clergy confidentiality. Now a judge has ordered them to testify.

This case involves a judicial hearing. Judicial hearings aren't strictly confidential. Details are shared with the headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses and with appeals committees. They are very different from a private confession to a clergyman. This makes it difficult for Jehovah's Witnesses to apply the principle of clergy confidentiality to this kind of situation.

This news article discusses the details of this important development. This page at Silent Lambs provides general information about this case.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dress and Grooming for Visitors Touring Bethel

One sign of a cult is that they try to exert a lot of control over their members, even in small things. This is the case with Jehovah's Witnesses and it appears to be getting worse.

Jehovah's Witnesses now have a tract to explain how visitors to their headquarters (known as Bethel) should dress. A scanned copy can be seen here, along with a discussion of it.

Bethel includes factories where their literature is published. They are asking visitors to wear some pretty fancy clothes for factory tours. What about people with health problems who may require comfortable shoes? Isn't it demeaning to women to insist that they wear a skirt instead of pants or even dress slacks? They claim to welcome the public to tour their facilities, but I doubt they will feel welcome in that overly strict environment.

This tract claims that we have to be careful about offending or stumbling others. Personally, I'm offended by any religion that tries to control their members' lives with endless rules and regulations. It is OK to encourage someone to use their conscience. However, it appears that the leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses is trying to be so controlling that their members don't need a conscience.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A "Theocratic" Routine

The evidence suggests that Jehovah's Witnesses have a very high rate of depression and mental illness. They are kept in fear of the world, Armageddon and demons. They are also kept very busy. Consider a common schedule for a Jehovah's Witness who is a father, but doesn't have a position of responsibility in his congregation.

A typical day of work. He comes home tired, but has to study for the book study the following evening.

A typical day of work. He comes home tired, but has to shower and get ready for the book study. He helps his wife get the kids ready. He may not have enough time to eat a proper supper.

A typical day of work. He comes home tired, but has to study for the Thursday night meeting. He doesn't have to prepare a talk this week, so he gets to "relax" a little bit.

A stressful day of work. He has to work late and and doesn't have time to eat before going to the two hour meeting that night.

A typical day of work. He comes home tired, but looks forward to the weekend. He knows he should help his children prepare a presentation for the door to door ministry and prepare one for himself. He watches TV instead and feels a little bit guilty.

A day off. He helps his wife get the children ready for a morning in the door to door ministry. He tries to help his children work up a presentation between doors. He just wings it at his doors. Afterwards, he gets caught up with work around the house. The children play by themselves.

Another day off. He helps his family get ready for another two hour meeting in the morning. Afterwards, he is tired and watches TV with his family and dreads the start of the next workweek. That night, a couple of elders come by for an "encouraging" shepherding call. They are concerned about him and his family. He admits that he has had a hard time conducting a regular family study and realises that he forgot to do that this week. He also admits to being behind in his personal study and his reading of the magazines and books they receive on a regular basis. The elders talk to him about the serious responsibility he has as the spiritual head of his family and read this scripture at 1 Timothy 5:8, "Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith." (New World Translation)

This is just a regular publisher. If he was an elder he would be far busier with preparing talks, attending elders meetings, doing paperwork, going on shepherding calls, getting late night calls from troubled congregation members and so forth. Jehovah's Witnesses can never do enough and are often depressed about their failures. This makes them much more vulnerable to mind control techniques that depend on fear, guilt and fatigue.